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A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future

Nothing is more daring in the American experiment than the founders’ belief that the American republic could remain free forever. But how was this to be done, and are Americans doing it today?

It is not enough for freedom to be won. It must also be sustained. Cultural observer Os Guinness argues that the American experiment in freedom is at risk. Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom–most typically, a negative freedom from constraint– are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.

“In the end,” Guinness writes, “the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans. The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor.” The future of the republic depends on whether Americans will rise to the challenge of living up to America’s unfulfilled potential for freedom, both for itself and for the world.

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The American Hour: A Time of Reckoning and the Once and Future Role of Faith

The American Hour: A Time of Reckoning and the Once and Future Role of Faith

Free Press
The American Hour is a searching assessment of the strength of the American republic at the end of what has been called the "American Century." In an incisive analysis, Os Guinness examines the ways in which the current crisis of cultural authority strikes at theRead More
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The American Hour is a searching assessment of the strength of the American republic at the end of what has been called the “American Century.” In an incisive analysis, Os Guinness examines the ways in which the current crisis of cultural authority strikes at the heart of American identity. As he shows, this crisis has occurred because America’s beliefs, traditions, and ideals – civic as well as religious – are losing their power to shape the private and public lives of countless Americans. He first charts this growing crisis in America’s moral and cultural order, tracing its roots early in this century to the first open phase of conflict, which began to build in the fifties and climaxed in the cultural revolution of the sixties. He goes on to examine the subsequent conservative counter-revolution, focusing throughout on the impact of this crisis on three areas vital to the health of the republic – on American identity, as in the currently contested notion of what it means to be an American; American public philosophy, including the now controversial relationship of religion and public life; and American republican character, including our distinctive emphasis on the importance of the “habits of the heart.”

Guinness also examines the historical role of religion in American society and its integral function in American public life. He explores how religion came to lose its power as a vital shaping force of America’s moral and cultural order, and he considers the consequences of this loss. He then establishes four scenarios that range from the continued decline of religion in public life to a resurgence of faith, showing how each possible outcome could affect American society in the upcoming century. Examining closely the recent controversies over religion and politics, Guinness concludes by setting forth a vision of how we can move beyond these struggles and provide America’s diverse faiths with a revitalized and constructive role in public life.

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Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization

Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization

IVPress
The church in the West is at a critical moment. While the gospel is exploding throughout the global south, Western civilization faces militant assaults from aggressive secularism and radical Islam. Will the church resist the seductive shaping power of advanced modernity? More than ever, ChristiansRead More
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Every time I sit down to read the prophetic words of Os Guinness, I feel my spine strengthen and myRead More
Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, author of Good Faith

The church in the West is at a critical moment. While the gospel is exploding throughout the global south, Western civilization faces militant assaults from aggressive secularism and radical Islam. Will the church resist the seductive shaping power of advanced modernity? More than ever, Christians must resist the negative cultural forces of our day with fortitude and winsomeness. What is needed is followers of Christ who are willing to face reality without flinching and respond with a faithfulness that is unwavering. Os Guinness describes these Christians as “impossible people,” those who have “hearts that can melt with compassion, but with faces like flint and backbones of steel who are unmanipulable, unbribable, undeterrable and unclubbable, without ever losing the gentleness, the mercy, the grace and the compassion of our Lord.” Few accounts of the challenge of today are more realistic, and few calls to Christian courage are more timely, resolute―and hopeful. Guinness argues that we must engage secularism and atheism in new ways, confronting competing ideas with discernment and fresh articulation of the faith. Christians are called to be impossible people, full of courage and mercy in challenging times.

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Every time I sit down to read the prophetic words of Os Guinness, I feel my spine strengthen and my mind perk up. His clear writing and earned wisdom bring both courage and uncertainty; for while we can't predict where our culture will head, we can rely on the truth that guides and emboldens every generation to meet the moment for which we've been called.
Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, author of Good Faith
Os Guinness is a prophet. Hear him.
Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
The Last Christian on Earth: Uncover the Enemy’s Plot to Undermine the Church

The Last Christian on Earth: Uncover the Enemy’s Plot to Undermine the Church

Baker Books
In one of the world's great ironies, the Christian faith contributed decisively to the rise of the modern world, but has been undermined decisively by the modern world it helped to create. The Christian faith has become its own gravedigger. In the 25 years sinceRead More
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In one of the world’s great ironies, the Christian faith contributed decisively to the rise of the modern world, but has been undermined decisively by the modern world it helped to create. The Christian faith has become its own gravedigger. In the 25 years since philosopher and social critic Os Guinness first published The Gravedigger Files, much has happened: the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of the computer age, the reemergence of China and India, the rise of Islamic terrorism, and the worldwide revitalization and politicization of religion. The central mystery of Dr. Guinness’s spy novel inspired by his affection for John le Carré thrillers remains unsolved: Can Christians regain the full integrity of faith in Christ while fully and properly engaged in the advanced modern world? This new edition of The Last Christian on Earth, which includes previously unpublished top-secret memos, is Dr. Guinness’s parable about the future of the Christian church in the West. Written in the grand tradition of le Carré, Fleming, and Clancy, this thriller pays homage to the genre while transcending it–because the real-life ending has yet to be written!

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